Lady GaGa in Concert
Monday, January 21, 2013
Born This Way Ball
Special guests: Lady Starlight, Madeon
Songs performed: Highway Unicorn (Road to Love), Government Hooker, Born This Way, Black Jesus + Amen Fashion, Bloody Mary, Bad Romance, Judas, Fashion of His Love, Just Dance, Love Game, Telephone, Hair, Electric Chapel, Heavy Metal Lover, Bad Kids, The Queen, You and I, Born This Way (reprise), Americano, Poker Face, Alejandro, Paparazzi, Scheiße, The Edge of Glory, Marry the Night
Comments: Lady GaGa brought her weird, wonderful and energetic show to the Staples Center the other night. The evening was part of her year-long world tour in support of her 2nd full-length album “Born This Way.” She may have taken a few hits in the media and on the charts, but her little monsters were out in full force and ate up every minute of it.
The show lasted almost 2.5 hours, and the crowd was standing/dancing for most of it. Not as many costumes in the audience as when I first saw her, there was still a good amount of people dressed up. As well as people of all ages too. GaGa herself had somewhere between 14-17 outfits in this show, but did not include the gun bra that was reported at some tour stops.
The lights went down and revealed the stage set — a Medieval castle with turrets, stairways, walkways and different levels. Some of the band members were up high playing their instruments. A parade proceeded to come from back stage, out to the main stage and down the walkway around the party pit. Lady GaGa entered on a large horse, that was moved along by 2 people inside it. Band members and dancers were also in this parade as well as people carrying flags. The first song was “Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)”. From the first sung words, it was obvious the crowd was going to really be into it.
One of the early highlights of the show was “Born This Way.” Her song of self-acceptance that has become an anthem for many: gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, or just plain different. She appeared atop a large pregnant belly, with a women’s legs and private parts shooting out the dancers, as if they were being born. After everyone was ‘born’, she took the front of the stage to lead her troupe through one of many high-energy and video-ready performances of the night.
Religious imagery played a big part in the next segment of the show. “Black Jesus + Amen Fashion” had one of her dancers playing black Jesus with a crown of thorns. For “Bloody Mary” she and 2 of her backup singers, were seen riding on motorized platforms of sorts, with her standing very tall. These platforms maneuvered the walkway too. For “Bad Romance” she brought back the egg entrance that she used on the Grammy Awards. The crowd was dancing along with their paws in the air.
During “Fashion of His Love” she played the keytar, and she also played the guitar and the piano during the show too. The castle set actually could open up, and you could see inside parts of it. This is where the other band members were on the first floor. She used the 2nd floor as sort of a bedroom/vanity area.
Some of the best vocals of the night came during “Hair” and “Electric Chapel.” It was just GaGa in a leather outfit rocking out with the band. Not to mention the ballad segment of “You and I” and “Born This Way (Reprise).” Before the reprise, she was on the phone talking to a contest winner from Virgin Mobile, one of the tour sponsors. It was a gay man, who was engaged to another man. She invited them back stage, and donated to a gay homeless shelter in his honor. This Lady puts her money where her mouth is.
“Americano” had GaGa hanging from a meat hook, along with slabs of beef. This was another high-energy dance routine, that even had her lounging on a meat sofa. For “Poker Face” there were meat grinders on stage, with legs sticking out. So the dancers could go into and out of them.
During costume changes, there was a talking face, sort of a stylized alien version of GaGa. It was housed in a neon diamond shape. The face actually “sang” the first half of “Paparazzi” before GaGa herself appeared.
The story line of this show didn’t quite make sense to me. Lady GaGa had a long speech about being an alien, not a man, not a woman. “I am you, and you are me. I am the best part and worst part of who you are. She wanted to strive to become the pop star that we deserved.” And with the talking face and G.O.A.T., I was a little bit like huh?
But considering how elaborate each number was, it was like every song had it’s own little music video: different sets, costumes, etc. The band was very tight, and the dancers were all amazing including Mark from “So You Think You Can Dance.” Some of the memorable costumes included something that looked like the alien from “Alien” for “Government Hooker” as well when she came out as the motorcycle from the “Born This Way” album cover.
I identified much more with her speech about self-acceptance. She started by saying that she was waiting tables just 5 years ago. And then she took to stripping to pay the bills. She said isn’t it ironic — I’m the highest paid stripper in the world now? She emphasized that you need to follow your dream and go for it. How when you stop giving a fuck, that is when your life soars. I couldn’t agree more.
“Scheiße” was the last big production number, with GaGa and the dancers executing a fantastic dance number. For the encores, things were dialed down some. “The Edge of Glory” was sung as a ballad first, then the regular uptempo version with GaGa walking around the different parts of the castle. For “Marry the Night” she was down front on the walkway, and pulled 7 fans out of the crowd to share the stage with her. Telling them this was there night too and she wouldn’t be her without them. It was a quieter version of the song too, not like the album version.
Opening acts for the evening were Lady Starlight and Madeon. Lady Starlight was a strange drag queen that played keyboards and electronic noise as far as I was concerned. Madeon was a DJ who had some interesting Euro-techno songs.
Thanks to Lady GaGa, the band, the dancers and the crew for a great evening. It was quite a spectacle for the senses.
Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Hiking in the Spirit and the Kilt Man line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.